Elbit launches Lanius search-and-attack quadcopter



by Yaakov Lappin

Elbit classifies the Lanius as a short-range loitering munition. (Elbit Systems)

Elbit Systems has unveiled a small unmanned quadcopter designed to locate, identify, and attack enemy personnel.

Based on a racing quadcopter, the Lanius is highly manoeuvrable and capable of flying inside buildings. The battery-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has a maximum take-off weight of 1.25 kg, a payload weight of 150 g, an operational speed of up to 72 km/h when flying outdoors, and an endurance of seven minutes, according to information released by Elbit. It can use Wi-Fi or software-defined radio communications.

The Lanius has an autonomous mode for take-off, navigation, and scouting. Using the images from its electro-optics and a simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) algorithm, it can gather data to build and update three-dimensional maps of its environment. This capability also enables it to identify doors and windows that it can fly through so it can continue scanning inside buildings.




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Kuwaiti NASAMS request approved



by Jeremy Binnie

An Omani NASAMS launches an AMRAAM during a test. (Omani Ministry of Defence)

The US Department of State has approved a Kuwaiti request for a National Advanced Surface-to-air Missile System (NASAMS) package estimated to be worth USD3 billion, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 6 October.

Developed by Raytheon and Norway’s Kongsberg, the NASAMS uses the AIM-9X Sidewinder and AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) as surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), making it an attractive option for militaries that already have these missiles. The new AMRAAM-Extended Range (AMRAAM-ER) missile provides a longer-range option but is only available as a SAM.

A NASAMS fire unit consists of at least one launcher, a fire distribution centre (FCU), a towed AN/MPQ-64F1 Sentinel radar, and an optional vehicle-mounted electro-optical target detection and tracking system.

The DSCA said the Kuwaiti request was for seven Sentinel radars, 63 Sidewinders, 63 AIM-120C-8 AMRAAMs, 63 AMRAAM-ERs, an unspecified number of FCUs, a simulator, and all the required support.

It also includes 12 Multifunctional Information Distribution System Low Volume Terminals (MIDS-LVTs) with radios and cryptographic modules so the NASAMS can be integrated into a network using the Link 16 tactical datalink.




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Indonesia reduces projected defence spending for 2023



by Ridzwan Rahmat & Andrew MacDonald

Janes Defence Budgets forecasts that Indonesia’s military expenditure will fall slightly but then resume growth in the coming years. (Janes Defence Budgets)

The Indonesian Ministry of Defense has requested IDR132 trillion (USD8.8 billion) for its national budget allocation in 2023.

The amount requested represents a 1.9% decline from the IDR134.7 trillion defence budget that was allocated in 2022.

These were among the details provided in a recently released Indonesian Ministry of Finance publication that summarised the 2023 budget requests from the different ministries and statutory bodies.

From the sum requested by the defence ministry, IDR35 trillion will be deployed towards modernising the Indonesian National Armed Forces’ main weapon systems, while a further IDR3.6 trillion will be set aside for operating expenses.

In addition, IDR12 trillion will be allocated towards programmes to increase the professionalism and welfare of the armed forces personnel, the publication noted.

Operations that will be prioritised in 2023 include the Indonesian Navy’s ongoing effort to map the country’s underwater terrain more expansively, and the hardening of defence facilities at Indonesia’s border islands.




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US Army’s FARA engine hits testing milestone



by Gillian Rich

The US Army concluded the First Engine to Test milestone of the General Electric T901 engine, which will be used in the service’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft. (US Army)

The General Electric T901-GE-900 Improved Turbine Engine (ITE) finished First Engine to Test (FETT) requirements on 28 June, the US Army said on 7 July.

The army had announced on 23 March that it conducted the first ‘light-off’ off General Electric’s T901 FETT, meaning power was produced by igniting fuel in the engine. That kicked off over 100 flight hours as part of testing procedures.

More testing is ahead for the engine.

Preliminary Flight Rating testing will start in the fourth quarter and will continue through 2023. Eight T901 engines will be tested to satisfy Army Military Airworthiness Certification Criteria (AMACC) standards by undergoing 1,500 engine test hours to meet “design, production, and continuing airworthiness”. The army said in total the engine will perform 5,000 hours of testing before full engine qualification.




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Australian Army makes HIMARS procurement bid



by Jon Grevatt

Australia has requested to procure 20 M142 HIMARS launchers from the US government, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on 26 May. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The US Department of State has approved the possible sale of Lockheed Martin’s M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) to Australia.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said on 26 May that the Foreign Military Sale of 20 M142 launchers and associated weapons and equipment is estimated to cost USD385 million. The proposed deal needs approval by the US Congress.

In addition to the M142s, equipment in the deal include 30 M30A2 guided multiple launch rocket systems (GMLRS), 30 M31A2 GMLRS unitary high-explosive pods, 30 XM403 extended range alternative warhead pods, and 10 M57 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) munitions.

DSCA said the proposed deal supports US security objectives in the Indo-Pacific. “The proposed sale will improve Australia’s capability to meet current and future threats, and will enhance interoperability with US forces and other allied forces,” it added.




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Switzerland details recent robotic and autonomous systems programmes



by Olivia Savage

Swiss Drone and Robotics Centre are experimenting with robotic systems that combine both wheeled and legged locomotion. (ETH Zurich)

The Swiss Federal Office for Defence Procurement (armasuisse) is trialling robotic quadruped, remote-controlled spider excavators and various drones.

The Swiss Drone and Robotics Centre (SDRZ) are experimenting with robotic quadrupeds that combine both wheeled and legged locomotion, Mark Höpflinger, Head of the SDRZ told
Janes
at the SMi Military Robotics and Autonomous Systems 2022 (SMi MRAS 2022) conference, in London.

An initial trial held in 2019 discovered that the system was slow and ineffective, even on flat terrain, Höpflinger explained.

The locomotion concept was further developed, and in 2021, a research demonstrator discovered that the system was able to drive up to 40 km/h and had the capability to walk on rough terrain or stairs.

SDRZ is also working with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology to increase the payload capability to 60 kg, Höpflinger noted.

Possible future applications for such robotic systems include supporting search-and-rescue, MEDEVAC, CADEVAC, CBRNE operations, Höpflinger said.




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NATO Response Force deploying as Russia meets resistance



by Nicholas Fiorenza & Thomas Bullock & Ashley Roque

NATO leaders have activated their emergency military response force as a defensive measure for the first time. The move comes as Russian troops continue their push into the Ukrainian capital city and refugees are fleeing into neighbouring countries.

On day two of the Russian invasion, NATO held a virtual summit of allied leaders and announced that elements of the NATO Response Force (NRF) and its Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) would deploy to alliance’s eastern flank.




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